Working on My New Book by Working in the Kitchen

So, y’all already know I don’t cook. Hell, I burn water.

Or at least that’s the story I’ve always told.

zucchini lasagna beef and veggies

Because if I’m not immediately ridiculously successful at something, I might as well call myself a complete failure at it. Never would I call myself a student of it; never would I call myself a beginner. Success or failure.

Binary. Absolute.

zucchini lasagna simmering sauce

Story of my life.

Until now.

zucchini lasagna first layer of zucchini

Last night I had a great meeting with Ninja Jen of Team Cricket Feet. This morning I had great emails from my bestie AnnaVo and from one of the folks who inspired me the most back at the Oprah thing to which I took AnnaVo in April, Kris Carr, and I think I had finally gotten so much good rest that I was feeling fired up in a whole new way.

Which — having been sick for so long — was a feeling I was happy to feel.

zucchini lasagna last layer of zucchini

Without going into detail on the bigger picture maybe I’m considering exploring, I’ll share that I did flesh out another chapter in my new book, Have Fun; Don’t Suck!, called “I Burn Water: Lessons from the Lies We Tell Ourselves.”

And I fleshed it out while doing something I rarely do (I would normally say “never,” but that’s a part of that “I burn water” lie): cooking.

zucchini lasagna headed into the oven

Cooking is surprisingly meditative. The singular focus on chopping, measuring, following a recipe, learning how to improvise, the trusting of the creative instincts — all of it — is both peaceful and intense at once. And because I so often rely on restaurants and a lovely home-delivery meal service for my food, I forget that.

Or I *had* forgotten that, ’til this afternoon.

zucchini lasagna halfway cooked 1

As I lovingly put together the ingredients for a sugar-free, grain-free (can be made dairy-free) zucchini lasagna and joyfully took in the smells and sounds along the way, I mentally worked on the chapter of the book in which I will explore the ways in which we convince ourselves things are the way we are.

How we get caught up in “what IS-itis” rather than exploring “what may be” a little more freely.

zucchini lasagna halfway cooked 2

And how we use our stories to free ourselves up from trying things outside our comfort zone.

What might you be using as an excuse NOT to attempt something?

zucchini lasagna out of the oven

And can you maybe take a step toward that something now and then?

Lemmeknow! Comments are open below. 🙂

zucchini lasagna serving

Now, let’s eat!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

[ETA the adaptation of this recipe I use, should you wish to try out a sugar-free, grain-free (can be dairy-free) delicious zucchini lasagna. And if you do, lemmeknow how it turns out!]

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

    1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
    3 cloves minced garlic
    1 c. chopped green bell pepper
    1 c. chopped onion (I use less)
    1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
    1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
    1 T. basil
    1 T. oregano
    1 T. parsley
    1 t. pepper
    1 t. salt
    1 T. coconut oil
    2-3 sm. thinly sliced (lengthwise) zucchini
    1/2 c. shredded mixed cheddar cheese (optional)
    1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
    1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

How To

  • cut up the veggies, measure out the seasonings, and grease the casserole pan with coconut oil first (I do this first because time management is challenging otherwise — and I wanna go for what makes this more likely to succeed)
  • preheat oven to 325F
  • brown ground beef in a large skillet, stirring frequently
  • sauté in garlic, bell pepper, and onion for 5 minutes
  • stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, and all dry seasonings
  • bring sauce to a wee boil; remove from heat
  • place a thin layer of sauce in the greased casserole pan
  • layer in zucchini (as if it’s pasta noodles)
  • repeat with sauce and zucchini ’til you’re left with sauce on top (even if that top layer is light)
  • cover casserole pan with aluminum foil and bake lasagna for 15 minutes (at 325F)
  • remove the dish, remove the foil, turn up the oven to 350F, and cover your lasagna with whatever shredded cheeses make you swoon (at this point, I also add the crushed red pepper flakes — because I like ’em to blend into that top layer of sauce a bit, which they do when added at this point — but OMG, *never* add ’em earlier or your lasagna will be toooooooo spicy to eat!)
  • return the uncovered pan to the 350F oven for another 15 minutes
  • let the finished dish cool a wee bit and then eat your face off
  • you’re welcome
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